The Miami Dolphins offensive line has been a point of contention for Dolphins fans across the nation in recent years. The 2022 version of that line was no different, yet there were a few bright spots along Miami’s front — right tackle Brandon Shell being one of them.
Brandon Shell joined the Dolphins before week five of the 2022 season after the team lost Austin Jackson during the season opener against the New England Patriots and while Terron Armstead was battling nagging injuries of his own. The Dolphins were looking for someone to step in and shore up one of the tackle positions, and Shell — formerly of the New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks — was that guy.
After struggling while playing in place of Armstead at the left tackle position in his first game, Shell was moved to the right tackle spot for the remainder of the 2022 season and he performed admirably. No, he didn’t perform at an All-Pro level or anything, but his numbers were more than adequate.
Pro Football Focus (PFF) had Shell at 761 snaps for the year while only giving up two sacks and eight quarterback hits. He earned a 64.9 overall grade on their site — 51.7 as a pass blocker, but 75.9 as a run blocker.
Despite Shell’s solid year, the Dolphins did not retain his services for the 2023 season, instead choosing to sign former first round picks Isaiah Wynn and Cedric Ogbuehi to compete with Austin Jackson for the right tackle spot (and possibly other spots along the offensive line). Shell would end up signing with the Buffalo Bills on a cheap one-year, $1.3 million deal.
Taking a look at both Wynn and Ogbuehi’s PFF numbers does raise some eyebrows, however.
In 2022, Isaiah Wynn played 423 snaps for the New England Patriots — mostly at right tackle. He gave up four sacks and earned an overall PFF grade of 54.6 — 52.8 as a pass blocker, 63.2 as a run blocker. The Dolphins signed Wynn to a one-year, $2.3 million deal this offseason.
Ogbuehi played 286 snaps for the New York Jets last season — like Wynn, mostly at right tackle. PFF attributed just one sack to the now 31-year-old, but his grading was poor. He earned an overall grade of 47.7 — 57.0 as a pass blocker, 41.8 as a run blocker. The Dolphins signed Ogbuehi to a one-year, $1.35 million deal this offseason.
So, by the numbers, Shell was a better player than either Wynn or Ogbuehi last year, yet signed in Buffalo for less money than each former first round selection got in Miami.
Time will tell if Wynn and/or Ogbuehi will prove general manager Chris Grier right in his decision making. Or maybe Austin Jackson will finally live up to his first-round pick status for Miami this year, making this discussion pointless.
We shall find out soon enough as the Miami Dolphins kick off their 2023 season in just under two months!